US pres­sures N Korea after sanc­tions vote

Sanc­tions could cost Py­ongyang $1 bil­lion a year

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

The United States and China piled pres­sure on North Korea yes­ter­day to aban­don its nu­clear mis­sile pro­gram after the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil ap­proved tough sanc­tions which could cost Py­ongyang $1 bil­lion a year. One day after Coun­cil mem­bers voted unan­i­mously for a par­tial ban on ex­ports aimed at slash­ing Py­ongyang’s for­eign rev­enue by a third, top diplo­mats from the key pow­ers in the dis­pute met in Manila.

US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son said he was en­cour­aged by the vote, but of­fi­cials warned that Wash­ing­ton would closely watch China-North Korea’s big­gest trade part­ner-to en­sure sanc­tions are en­forced. China’s For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi met his North Korean coun­ter­part Ri Hong-Yo be­fore a ma­jor re­gional se­cu­rity fo­rum be­ing hosted by the 10-na­tion As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions. He urged the North to halt its nu­clear and bal­lis­tic mis­sile tests.

“It will help the DPRK to make the right and smart de­ci­sion,” Wang told re­porters, speak­ing through a trans­la­tor, after talks with Ri-re­fer­ring to the sanc­tions and to Ri’s pres­ence in Manila. Py­ongyang’s top en­voy has so far avoided the me­dia in Manila. But in a char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally fiery edi­to­rial be­fore the lat­est sanc­tions were ap­proved, the North’s rul­ing party news­pa­per Rodong Sin­mun warned against US ag­gres­sion.

“The day the US dares tease our na­tion with a nu­clear rod and sanc­tions, the main­land US will be cat­a­pulted into an unimag­in­able sea of fire,” it said. Tiller­son also met Rus­sia’s For­eign Min­is­ter Sergei Lavrov and was to see Wang later on Sun­day, seek­ing to in­ten­sify Kim Jong-Un’s diplo­matic iso­la­tion and re­duce the risk of re­newed con­flict. “It was a good out­come,” Tiller­son said of the UN vote, be­fore a meet­ing with South Korean For­eign Min­is­ter Kang Kyung-Wha.

Se­nior US en­voy Su­san Thorn­ton said Wash­ing­ton was “still go­ing to be watch­ful” on the im­ple­men­ta­tion of sanc­tions, cau­tion­ing that pre­vi­ous votes had been fol­lowed by China “slip­ping back”. But she added China’s sup­port for the UN res­o­lu­tion “shows that they re­al­ize that this is a huge prob­lem that they need to take on”.

The ur­gency of the sit­u­a­tion was un­der­lined by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser HR McMaster, who told MSNBC news that the US leader was re­view­ing plans for a “pre­ven­tive war”. “He said he’s not go­ing to tol­er­ate North Korea be­ing able to threaten the United States,” McMaster said. “It’s in­tol­er­a­ble from the pres­i­dent’s per­spec­tive. So of course, we have to pro­vide all op­tions to do that. And that in­cludes a mil­i­tary op­tion.”

Satur­day’s UN res­o­lu­tion banned ex­ports of coal, iron and iron ore, lead and lead ore as well as fish and seafood by the cash-starved state. If fully im­ple­mented it would strip North Korea of a third of its ex­port earn­ingses­ti­mated to to­tal $3 bil­lion per year de­spite suc­ces­sive rounds of sanc­tions since the North’s first nu­clear test in 2006.

The res­o­lu­tion also pre­vents North Korea from in­creas­ing the num­ber of work­ers it sends abroad. Their earn­ings are an­other source of for­eign cur­rency for Kim’s regime. It pro­hibits all new joint ven­tures with North Korea, bans new in­vest­ment in cur­rent joint com­pa­nies and adds nine North Korean of­fi­cials and four en­ti­ties in­clud­ing the North’s main for­eign ex­change bank to the UN sanc­tions black­list.

Trump hailed the vote-say­ing in a tweet that the sanc­tions will have “very big fi­nan­cial im­pact!”-and thanked Rus­sia and China for back­ing a mea­sure that ei­ther could have halted with their UN veto. The United States be­gan talks on a res­o­lu­tion with China a month ago, after Py­ongyang launched its first in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile on July 4, fol­lowed by a sec­ond ICBM test on July 28. But the mea­sure does not pro­vide for cuts to oil de­liv­er­ies, which would have dealt a se­ri­ous blow to the North’s econ­omy.

China ac­counts for 90 per­cent of trade with North Korea, and Bei­jing’s at­ti­tude to its volatile neigh­bor will be cru­cial to the suc­cess or fail­ure of the new sanc­tions regime. China and Rus­sia had re­sisted the US push, ar­gu­ing that di­a­logue with North Korea was the way to per­suade it to halt its mil­i­tary pro­grams. Speak­ing to re­porters after the coun­cil vote, Wash­ing­ton’s am­bas­sador to the UN Nikki Ha­ley said “what’s next is com­pletely up to North Korea.” US of­fi­cials have in­sisted that while Tiller­son and Ri will be in the same room dur­ing the Manila fo­rum, there would be no di­rect meet­ing be­tween the two en­voys. — AFP

PY­ONGYANG: In a photo taken on July 21, 2017 pedes­tri­ans and ve­hi­cles pass be­fore the por­traits of late North Korean lead­ers Kim Il-Sung (left) and Kim Jong-Il (right). — AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.